This hackathon is open to University of Pennsylvania students only

Hone your analytics skills, working with real-world data!  Register as a team with varying skill sets, combining quantitative and qualitative abilities. The datathon will launch via webinar on Thursday, January 28 and culminate with finalist presentations on Friday, February 5.

Essity is a global hygiene and health company, with its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. The company develops, manufactures, and sells products and solutions within hygiene and health. The intention of this project is to improve Essity's supply chain logistics and optimize its operations set-up.


Datathon Challenge

Essity's global Tork brand and IoT solution is utilized by customers to clean more effectively. It uses IoT sensors in dispensers, bins, and people counters to accomplish this. It is sold as a subscription service directly to end customers and has a number of features in addition to the cleaning functionality such as customer feedback, messaging, and APIs.

Essity would like to understand if there is untapped value in the data being collecting as part of the Tork brand and IoT solution for smart washrooms. The idea is to discover or explore, within defined areas, possibilities to use that data to expand or add value to the business.  

Consistent with a real-life business problem, there is no prescribed approach, with teams free to exercise judgment on areas they feel will release the most value from the available data.  

Students should pick one of the following datathon themes to focus on:

  • Customer Insights
    • Determine the customer “health score”
    • Tell something about the customer and about the value of the product/solution to the customer
      • Is the product delivering value to customers?
      • How are customers using the product and are they maximizing it?
    • Key loggers combined with other kinds of data to build customer health score
  • Product
    • Predict if/when a dispenser will run out of the product, e.g. paper towels
    • Is there proof of maintenance? Was the task completed?
    • What’s the average time period between when a dispenser runs out of the product, and the task is completed (dispenser refilled)? Can the lag time between alert and refill be eliminated?
  • Operations
    • Improve supply chain logistics or monitoring of devices
      • Are there new/better thresholds for locations?
    • Develop more predictive cleaning
    • Combine different data points to build up a dashboard
  • Claims (proof of value of product/solution)
    • Optimization of refill/maintenance
    • Waste/wastage reduction
      • How much do you save by not refilling dispensers?
      • Example marketing action: By using this product, Essity claims that you can reduce waste by 20%


Data Overview

Students will be provided with 1 year (Jan. 2019 – Jan. 2020) of data for 15 of Essity's largest Tork customers, including airports, amusement parks, and large office buildings. Customer locations have more than 100 sensors and/or 1000 units. The data and full documentation will be provided via the Microsoft Teams Essity Workspace.  

* Sample code to load and join the data will also be provided!

View data details



  • Monday, January 25: Teams must register here by 11:59 p.m. ET
  • Thursday, January 28: Datathon kick off webinar and teams given access to data
  • January 28-February 4: Student teams work, office hours for questions
  • TBD: Virtual office hours
  • TBD:  Virtual office hours
  • Thursday, February 4:  Judges Review Submissions
    • 7 a.m. ET: Deadline for video presentation and code to be uploaded to Devpost 
  • Friday, February 5:  Finalist Presentations 
    • 12-1:15 p.m. ET: Finalist Presentations 
    • 1:15-1:45 p.m. ET: Judges Deliberation
    • 1:45-2 p.m. ET: Winners Announced


Registration & Communication Platforms

Hackathon Sponsors


$3,000 in prizes

1st Place: Per Team - $1,500

2nd Place: Per Team - $1,000

3rd Place: Per Team - $500

Devpost Achievements

Submitting to this hackathon could earn you:


Event Rules

  • This hackathon is open to University of Pennsylvania students only
  • Students must register as a team with varying skill sets, combining quantitative and qualitative abilities. Ideal teams will have 3-5 members. If you sign up as an individual, we will assign you to a team.

Data User Agreement Terms

  • You cannot share or discuss the data details with anyone not participating in the datathon
  • Delete the data files at the end of the datathon


The sponsor will consider the potential value to be created, along with the sophistication and creativity of any solution.  Students are encouraged to consider the credibility and ease of implementation of any approach, relative to the solutions they identify.

Final Submissions Must Include:

  • Video presentation of results, 5 - 7 minutes duration
  • Presentation materials 
  • Data visualizations
  • Code with documentation

* Sample (winning) datathon presentations will be provided to you


Brandon Krakowsky

Brandon Krakowsky
Research & Education Director - Wharton Customer Analytics | Lecturer in Computer and Information Science, Penn SEAS

Raghu Iyengar

Raghu Iyengar
Professor of Marketing | Faculty Director - Wharton Customer Analytics

Mary Purk

Mary Purk
Executive Director - Wharton Customer Analytics, AI for Business

Erik Flood

Erik Flood
Business Transformation Director, Professional Hygiene - Essity

Gustaf Persson

Gustaf Persson
Data Driven Customer Insights Manager, Professional Hygiene - Essity

Charishma Kothari

Charishma Kothari
Marketing Director Services and Solutions, Professional Hygiene - Essity

Peter Blomström

Peter Blomström
Global Brand Director Services Category, Professional Hygiene - Essity

Matthew Hirst

Matthew Hirst
VP Category Professional Hygiene Global Brand, Innovation and Sustainability - Essity

Jose Guirao

Jose Guirao
VP Finance, Professional Hygiene - Essity

Nancy Farrell

Nancy Farrell
Marketing Manager, Professional Hygiene

Nicole Wang-Trexler

Nicole Wang-Trexler
Associate Director, Data Science & Research - Wharton Customer Analytics

Judging Criteria

  • Quality of approach and methodology
  • Analysis of results and potential business impact
  • Ease of implementation
  • Translation & presentation of results to the audience

Questions? Email the hackathon manager

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